updated 03:16 pm EDT, Wed May 28, 2014
Samsung Simband has collection of biometric sensors, feeds data to SAMI cloud service
Samsung is continuing its push into the healthcare device market, by working on ways to use sensors to monitor the body. At its Voice Of The Body event in San Francisco, Samsung unveiled Simband, a reference design wearable device that collects biometric data and incorporates it into the Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions (SAMI) cloud platform.
Samsung Simband sensor module
The Simband is an "investigational device" the company currently has no plans to sell, consisting of a main display with a modular sensor collection at the base. While it was demonstrated on stage by monitoring the wearer's heart rate, similar to the current Gear 2 smart watches and the rear sensor of the Galaxy S5, the sensors can be customized to add more functionality in the future. Just as with other health trackers, the Simband is equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios to synchronize with a mobile app, as well as the SAMI platform. Samsung revealed it has partnered with the University of California, San Francisco to make sure the data from its healthcare devices and various sensors are accurate and usable.
SAMI is billed as an "agnostic data broker" by Dr. Luc Julia, Vice President of innovation at Samsung Electronics, reports ZDNet. The platform aims to store and secure data in one place, with users being the only people capable of granting access to the data for apps or services. "Today the devices we know only capture data in their own silos. They are not combined with any other information," advised Julia, suggesting SAMI could offer open APIs that provides apps with access to the user's data, with the collection of all health-related data more likely to provide apps with a more accurate picture of a person's well-being. The APIs in question will apparently be available to developers as soon as the end of this year.
In order to foster development, Samsung has announced a Digital Healthcare Challenge, which will offer investments from a pool of $50 million to groups working on projects related to health tracking.